University of Delaware professor finishes year-long sabbatical at Food Bank of Delaware

By Christine Evans, Community Outreach Coordinator

While other professors choose to take their sabbatical in foreign places, Dr. Nancy Cotugna from the University of Delaware chose to spend her year-long sabbatical here at the Food Bank of Delaware.

Dr. Cotugna is a long-time supporter, advocate and board member of the Food Bank. As a professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Delaware, she is very passionate about the subjects of community nutrition and hunger, especially in Delaware’s food-insecure population. In 2004 Dr. Cotugna received the Food Bank of Delaware Founder’s Award for Outstanding Service for her commitment to our mission.

Over the past year, Dr. Cotugna has spent her sabbatical working tirelessly on public policy projects. While she faced a number of obstacles throughout the year, Nancy’s impact on the Food Bank of Delaware and its constituents is invaluable. Here is just a brief snapshot of her accomplishments over the past year:

  • Succeeded in getting the State of Delaware to submit a plan to provide senior citizens in Delaware with access to vouchers to purchase produce at local farmers markets. The same concept was also utilized as a pilot for WIC (Women Infants Children) recipients to purchase produce at farmers’ markets. Dr. Cotugna prepared the 100-page document for submittal after months of research, multiple meetings with key state and local agencies, presentations to farmers; interviews with existing program managers around the country, meetings with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Program officer and development of the templates for all the plan’s 23 appendices. She has offered consultation services to the lead State agency over the upcoming summer as they complete the plan’s details with any necessary updates from their internal budget info, etc.
  • Assisted with the successful submission and granting of a very important proposal to USDA to enable low-income people utilizing SNAP benefits (formerly known as Food Stamps) stamps to purchase CSA shares. As part of the matching funding, she has agreed to conduct the 3-year evaluation piece for the project.
  • Assisted with the implementation of a pilot program to put EBT machines in 3 farmers’ markets for the summer of 2012.
  • Assisted with the submittal of the Emerson Hunger Fellows grant, which would grant two policy-workers to the FBD for an entire year.
  • Assisted the Anti-Hunger Coalition subcommittee with researching, videotaping and developing strategies for the Breakfast in the Classroom initiative and created an extensive guide for future work on the program.
  • Assisted with the drafting and execution of the food rescue policy for schools in DE.
  • Submitted two presentations on the school food pantry project and the state food closet project and was accepted to present at the National Meeting of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

On behalf of the rest of our Board of Directors, staff, 475 hunger-relief program partners and the people we collectively serve, the Food Bank of Delaware would like to thank Dr. Nancy Cotugna for her hard work and commitment. We appreciate her tremendous contribution to alleviating hunger in the First State!

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Filed under Advocate, Hunger, Nutrition, Poverty, Programs, Supporters

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